Running a small business can be a high wire act, especially in the early stages. When you are getting your new business off the ground, every penny counts, and spending money on things you can get for free can seem like an unnecessary indulgence.
Even so, some products and services are worth the cost, and that includes hosting for your email. If you are thinking about using a free email service for your business email, you might want to think again. The email service may be free, but the unexpected costs could be higher than you ever imagined.
A Higher Risk of Hacking
From Yahoo! to Gmail, free email providers are tempting targets for hackers. The presence of hundreds of millions of individual accounts is hard to resist, and there have been highly publicized breaches in recent years.
Having your email account hacked is bad enough for your personal life, but think how much worse it would be if your business were suddenly at risk. If your free email account is breached, every one of your business contacts is suddenly at risk, and customers will not take kindly to the intrusion. And while no email account is totally safe, paid email hosts often have higher security measures in place than their totally free counterparts.
There is an old saying in the tech world that if the service is free, you are the product. That is definitely the case with free services like social media accounts and email hosting; these valuable services are free largely because of the advertising dollars they bring in.
Advertiser support may be fine for your personal accounts, but do you really want the emails you send your business associates to double as marketing messages? Keep in mind that you have little, and in some cases no, control over the content of those ads, and an inappropriate marketing message could put your firm in a bad light.
You will spend a lot of money to market your small business and reach out to new customers. The last thing you want is for email advertising to undermine your own message. So do yourself a favor and pay for a quality email hosting service; the small cost will be well worth the price.
A Troubling Lack of Privacy
When you communicate with clients and customers, you want to know that those communications are private. In fact, many business owners take privacy for granted, but free email could put it at risk.
Many providers of free email scan messages for keywords, using what they find to target marketing messages. Even this relatively low level scanning could represent a real privacy risk, one that many clients would find unacceptable. By opting for paid email hosting, you can avoid these technical invasions of privacy.
As a small business owner, you have access to a wide range of free and low cost products and services. From working with local media to get the word out to reaching out on social media, there are creative strategies you can use to keep your costs down and make the most of your money. But given the realities of the situation and the limitations of the service, you might want to skip the free email. Paying for email hosting is not an unnecessary indulgence or an unwise expense; in the end paid email is a sound investment in the future of your business.